Saturday, March 31, 2007

envy and jealousy

Green like moss
Won’t stop growing
Like poison ivy,
Winding, burning
Spent too much time
Looking, looking left, looking right
I’m stuck,
can’t find the way
that’s meant for me
and only me
I am
Tangled up
Coloured by
Covered up in

ENVY by Jaylene Johnson

I remembered this song today as I was praying about jealous and envy.
I like this quote by Dave Ramsey, “Jealousy is wanting what someone else has and envy is wanting the person who has what you want to not have it and not enjoy it.”

I heard a message by Charles Stanley the other day talking about “ if you will hear the Lord and obey, and not harden your heart...”
It got me thinking about how hardening our hearts stops us from hearing God’s voice clearly and how repenting allows us to hear it again. But, we will not hear Him speak to us when we have refused to listen and obey to something He told us to do earlier.

Point in case: unforgiveness. A few years ago I was deeply hurt by a friend’s actions. And sometimes when I think about her I’m tempted to pray, “Lord, please let her stain every white piece of clothing she owns.” It’s petty, but it’s there. Floating around in my heart. And if I ever get bored, it’s her face that floats up before me and I start imagining all the things I’d like to see happen to her…on live national television…like something really embarrassing, for the whole world to laugh at her about; for night time comedians to make jokes about her for weeks to come.

But more than embarrassing her, I want her to be jealous of me. I want her to look at my life and say,” Gee, I was really dumb to treat my friend that way. I wish I could know her now.”
I spend time daydreaming about how she wishes she could be me, which in fact, she is probably completely oblivious to the fact that she hurt me. In fact, I can probably say for certain that she is…the few times I’ve spoken to her she acts as though nothing has happened. Something to add to my list of dislike for her: completely oblivious regard for others. Grrr…

So, getting back to hearing God. I started thinking about the places in my life that I have hardened my heart to God’s commandments so that I am unable to hear His voice clearly. And it becomes rather obvious—I have not forgiven this girl.

I hesitated and squirmed upon this realization. I wasn’t about to justify to God why I shouldn’t forgive her—I have no excuse. Jesus forgave me for all my sin, I must forgive others. No, I didn’t hesitate about that.

I hesitated because I really enjoy my scenarios of her failure. I get a kick out of imagining her publicly humiliated for the world to see—jumbo screens in Times Square. And I know that if I forgive her, that I have to deal with my anger and the true motive for my anger.
When it boils down to it…and this is that moment when you really look yourself in the mirror and see something you don’t like…I am jealous of her. No, not jealous: envious. I want what she has had happened to her to happen to me, but more than that, I want her to not have it and not enjoy it.

I ‘ve been ashamed to admit this to myself. Could I really harbour such feelings for someone who has hurt me so deeply? Yes, I can. And it all stems from my own jealousy. My own envy.

I look at the big picture: I could hang onto this ridiculously petty thing and limit my ability to hear God or I could repent of my own envy and walk in freedom. The Bible says that love does not envy.
One of my favourite scripture is James 3:16 “For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there.” That’s always been a clarifying scripture for me. Whenever I’ve felt confused, I know that it stems from either being envious or seeking to solve things myself rather than trusting God. But reading it now, knowing what I know about my heart, I am quickly saddened that I’ve used up space in my heart with envy and evil. A place that could have occupied His love or His grace has been taken over by my own need for a false sense of justice.

Ecclesiastes 4:4
Then I observed all the work and ambition motivated by envy. What a waste! Smoke. And spitting into the wind.
I have been spitting into the wind. I’ve been spitting bitterness and malice. And here it has come, back on me, and spread itself all over me.

Galations 5:25 makes an interesting observation about me. “Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.”
It’s true. I’ve become conceited in my thoughts towards this girl. Absolutely conceited.
All of it wrong. All of it sin. All of it needing to be washed away by the blood of My King who gave everything for my freedom.
So, I choose right now to do what 1 Peter 2:1 suggests,” So clean house! Make a clean sweep of malice and pretense, envy and hurtful talk. You've had a taste of God. Now, like infants at the breast, drink deep of God's pure kindness. Then you'll grow up mature and whole in God.”

God, I repent for my anger, jealous, envy and pure hatred towards this person. I forgive them for their biting words, their hurting actions, and their ignorant treatment of my heart. I was wrong to hate her. I was wrong to be jealous of her. I was wrong to waste my mind imagining foolish things to try and make me be better than who I am. I am so sorry Lord that I did not walk in love towards this person, but that I choose bitterness. Please forgive me for my thoughts, words and actions. I receive, by faith , Your forgiveness. I know that these chains are broken off my life and that I have set both myself and this person free by forgiving them. Thank you for the cross and the blood you shed that enables me to forgive. I am free. I am cleansed. And I pursue Your word, Your love and Your grace so that they can fill up all the spaces that envy, and unforgiveness had previously occupied. I look forward to hearing Your voice more clearly than ever.
Thank You Jesus for having open arms and great big bear hugs! I love you, my King.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

thanks...for the bad haircut!

I took my girls to our new church today--they give free hair cuts there as a service to the community, gotta love that. All the way there, my eldest, SuperGirl, tries to convince me to cut her hair "short like Daddy's!"
I stall.
I say no.
I think of reasons to wait.

I really don't mind if she wants short (SHORT) hair...ok, maybe I do a little...but I just have this MOM feeling that what she thinks she wants and what she actually wants are two different things.
We get there and SuperGirl announces to Peggy, our hairdresser, that she wants short hair that is "short like Daddy's".
Peggy looks at me.
I stall.
I say no.
I think of reasons to wait and verbalize them to SuperGirl.
Peggy, oh brilliant hairdresser, says,"Let's start with a trim and then you can tell me to go shorter if you and Mom like it."
I smile at Peggy. She's a pro, I'll give her that.

She places the cape around SuperGirl's neck. SuperGirl makes a stink about how it hurts her neck, pretends that she's having trouble breathing (sorta) and declares that this is no fun. I, once again, repeat the mantra that I have said over and over for the last year it seems, " SuperGirl, what kind of attitude do you have right now?"
She responds, "I'm not being saucy Mom. I just don't like it."
I ask her, "Do you know what you look like?"
Her wide blue eyes stare blankly at me.
"A whale." I answer, "But I cant' figure out which one you are. Are you a blue whale? A humpback whale? A bowhead whale?"
SuperGirl starts giggling and keeps changing her mind as to what whale she is. Peggy starts trimming SuperGirle's hair and gives me a smile and a look that says, "You're a pro, I'll give you that."

Peggy works as fast as she can. I am now exhausting my knowledge on whales. I'm asking SuperGirl whether she is a baleen whale or a toothed whale. She says baleen, and the guessing game starts again. All is going well until Peggy moves behind SuperGirl to cut the last bit of hair at the back.
What SuperGirl didn't realize is that while we were playing our little game, Peggy was cutting, or rather, barely snipping a centimetre off of SuperGirl's hair. SuperGirl's eyes grow big as she realizes that her bangs are now a bit shorter.
"Oh no!" she exclaims. "I hate it. Mom, I look like a boy!"

Peggy and I both try not to laugh.
SuperGirl, horrified at the centimetre cut off of her hair is the same little girl who, moments earlier, was requesting a "short haircut like Daddy's".
Peggy finishes up while SuperGirl repeatedly declares her disgust of this hairdo gone wrong.
She stares in the mirror as Peggy removes the grey cape that is covering her.
“I look like a boy.”
Her little eyebrows come down on her face meeting with the scowl that has spread it’s way to her wrinkled nose of disgust. She crosses her arms.
“Oh boy,” I think, “Another teachable moment about attitude in life.”
I assure SuperGirl that she doesn’t look like a boy, that she is as beautiful as ever and that she still has nice hair.
She starts climbing down from the chair and I ask her to say thank you to Peggy.
She then loudly proclaims, “I’m not going to say thank you. I don’t like this haircut. It makes me look like a boy!”
Mortified, I try a few times to coerce a thank you out of SuperGirl. I remind her that it’s okay not to like her haircut, but she still needs to appreciate that Peggy did her best and was willing to cut her hair.

SuperGirl just shakes her head no.

I leave her be while I get my hair cut. There has to be a cooling off period for everyone sometimes. And, while I hate to admit it to SuperGirl, this is only one of the first of many misadventures that she will have throughout her hair life. She has years ahead of her to enjoy the mystery of entering into a salon, sit in a spinning chair where you are at the mercy of some artist wielding a pair of sharp scissors. All the while, you are inwardly saying to yourself, “If it turns out terrible, I will go home and find either a hat or a bearable way to style it until my hair can grow out long enough to try this all over again!”

My hair is finished and we are ready to go. After SuperGirl apologizes for drawing on the wall, I say, “Is there anything else you ‘d like to say to Peggy?”
SuperGirl’s wide eyes and calm face look at Peggy and she demurely says, “Thank you, Peggy.”
My heart soars. I smile at Peggy. Peggy smiles at me. All things are right with the world. Somewhere, somewhere I have been getting through to my sometimes stubborn four year old.
As we walk to our van, I touch SuperGirl’s shoulder and say, “ SuperGirl, I’m really proud of you. I know you don’t like your hair cut, but it was nice of you to recognize the hard work Peggy did while cutting your hair.”
SuperGirl skips along as she says ,”Oh Mom, I wasn’t thanking Peggy for cutting my hair. I thanked her for cutting yours and Missie Moo’s hair. I hate my haircut. She made me look like a boy!”

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

What happens in my head, stays in my head, but what if it won't? -NB

Fear has been on my mind lately.
At my new church,they have been discussing fear...or as Pastor Greg calls it: the F word. This week he spoke on fear of man. That is the idea of "my confidence, my self-worth, value, identity, approval, decisions about what I say or do are based on how people view me." So many things that he said hit home:, in particular (but not exclusive to--haha. Little legal document joke there):
I think about how people are going to respond to me based on if I say, do or think something
Always concerned about looking good in front of people
Do things so that people can like me
If I buy them gifts they will like me more

All of these things I have done at one time in my life; some of them I've done today. When did fear become such a part of my life?
Somehow I had become numb to what was motivating me in doing certain things. I'm keenly aware of it now that I've moved to a new city.
It’s easy to suddenly be consumed with the idea of “what will someone think of what I say or do” when you are in a new place. It’s the awkwardness of being new. Everyone you sit with is already friends, already knows each other and already has a history together.

I do think about what people are going to say about my thoughts and opinions. Of course, usually in my mind people are telling me I’m great and that they all love me. But nonetheless, I’m thinking it. Sometimes you have to think it.

Point in case, you have to delicately tell someone that there breath stinks…that is a good time to think ahead and choose your words wisely. But honestly, I’m not merely talking about trying to say difficult things in a delicate matter. I’m talking about fear controlling what I do put out there before people.

What is that fear?
 Fear of rejection?
 Fear that no one will love you even after you've said your bit--that's inevitable isn't it? If you take a stand for something you believe in, there will be people who reject your ideas and won't accept you. That's kinda the nature of "taking a stand".
But what if it’s not a ‘taking a stand’ kind of issue. What if it is just simply showing your heart to someone who you know. Does fear hold me back from honesty? I’d like to say no. In most cases it is no, but it does happen.

So, am I without hope? Of course not, Christ is in me…failure is not an option. Renewing my mind is an option, though. And I choose to meditate and think on Exodus 2:20 “Don’t be afraid, God has come to test you to instill a deep and reverent awe within you so that you won’t sin.”

“Fear of human opinion disables, trusting God protects you from that.” –Greg
I choose to trust God and rely on Him to turn my fear into faith. I chose to fear Him and be confident in the fact that not everyone will like me, but God will always love me. That who I am is who He made me, and I’m still His painting in progress. He’s not done with me yet.
Right now, I choose to meditate on His word until my confidence, my self worth, my value, my identity, my approval, my decisions about what I say, think and do stem from Jesus Christ.

Monday, March 26, 2007

For Corrina

Here are my scrapbook pictures that I created for my brother's wedding.

Eating crow to the tune of Michael W. Smith

My heart is consumed with love for my King Jesus!
I must confess, I am a new Michael W. Smith fan. Before, I used to only like the song "Love Me Good"(I miss you Amber Houck wherever you are!)

Recently I saw his film "The Second Chance" and I was amazed by the storyline. I love how authentically it portrayed the cushy, North American church. It was very inspiring and made me cry for two days whenever I thought about it. In turn, it has now made me a fan of his and, of course, his music. I just bought the CD "Stand" and I have spent so much time loving Jesus while I listen to the words and melodies of his album.

So, I now eat crow...I do like his music.
There I said it out loud.

Friday, March 23, 2007

If I had a blog, this would be my post

Back by popular demand--the email I wrote to friends about a race gone bad. This email was the birth of my actual desire to write a blog.
Hope you enjoy.

The Devil Disguises Himself as a Racing Official

I entered my first race ever. So excited. I tried to remain calm and fold laundry this morning to offset my nervous energy. I have always wanted to enter a race, but I just have never gotten around to doing it. Can't think of why, but it is one of those things you put off doing with the hopes that "some day" will arrive and you will find yourself in a race.
Well, my "some day" arrived when a friend suggested I enter the "Run For the Pumpkin" race. She knew I didn't have a car, and that this race would be starting close to my home. It made sense that this should be my first race.

Fast forward to race day. My oldest daughter has a cold, so I decide to bring only my baby girl with me and the one seat stroller. I think grand thoughts of how I am being a wonderful mother and inspiring my daughter at the tender age of 11 months to make physical activity a part of her life. These thoughts carry me down the sidewalk and to the race location.I arrive early--I don't want to miss my first race. I go to the registration booth and I pick up my number. My own number: 1756! I'm so excited! This number will be scrapbooked and forever saved in my memory.
I settle down on the grass and watch as different running clubs warm up. I watch as everyone stretches. I suddenly start to feel small as all these young college girls go by kicking their legs in front of them as they limber up for the race.I feel my mouth go dry as I watch a group of college guys show off their warrior body paint and their calf stretches. I should go home, i think.
I tell myself I can't do this and what was I thinking-- taking my precious 11 month old out to a place where young men look like savage Bravehearts and young college girls are prancing around in their underwear.
I overhear a girl say that she isn't used to running on uneven ground.
Uneven ground? What is this?
I politely ask her what she means.
"The race is on the grass."
I think to myself "I am so glad I brought the one-seat stroller and not the double stroller. I don't think I could push my double stroller up the hill." I should go home.

I look around at everyone. They all look like racers. The majority have the cool running sunglasses on--I have my plain glasses on. Surreptitiously sneaking up on me is that old "highschool feeling". You know the one, the one where you feel like everyone is looking at you because you don't fit in. I'm thankful for my husband's baseball cap. I pull it low over my eyes and wish that he was here with me.
The race official announces that the race is about to begin. I make my way to the back of the start line. It only makes sense-I'm the only one with a stroller to push. Hey, wait, I am the only one with a stroller--I should go home.
A woman in her twenties smiles at me and asks,"Hey, are you running with your stroller?"
I nod. "Well, probably more like a brisk walk. It's on grass and I don't know how well my stroller will take the hills."
She looks at me, "Wow. Good for you."
I look at her. And the thought slowly enters my mind, "Yeah, good for me. I'm doing something I've always wanted to do, but never made the time commitment to do. I'm not hiding behind any excuse--especially the excuse of :I have kids, I can't do that. I'm trying something new. I feel out of place. I feel like I don't belong but that's all a part of doing something new. Good for me. I should stay.
The gun goes bang. And everyone takes off. I knew I would be last, but I wasn't prepared for how last. I watched as all the runners leave me, kicking up the fallen autumn leaves as they race towards the first corner. I feel every eye stare at me as I venture out my first steps. I keep my eyes forward as I push my stroller with my sleeping daughter inside.
I watch as the runners move quickly up the hill and then down again. I am rounding my first corner, I climb the hill, putting effort into my stroller making sure it gets up the hill. I approach the crest of the hill and I am confused about the flag markers.I'm not sure who is giving directions--don't people wear anything official? I ask someone standing in a group of people where to go. The people tell me down the hill. I start down the hill and then I meet the devil.
The race official who started the race comes running at me with his clipboard and half shouts, "Lady, get off of the course. There's a race happening here!"
"I'm in the race," I reply.
He looks over his shoulder and sees my 1756 number backing up my statement. "You're in the race? You shouldn't be in the race with kids, lady. This is a running race." And he takes off.
My eyes blur over with tears. I should go home.
I head down the hill as parents and teachers and coaches shout out encouragement to the runners coming behind me (Apparently, the directions I was given interfered with the race. I wasn't supposed to go down the hill). I wait on the sidelines as the runners go by. I feel the stares of the coaches, parents and teachers. I wait for a break in the running and I cross the trail.
With everything I have, I try to hold back the tears. And then I spot my friends who are entering the next race. A tear falls--now, I'm publicly humiliated and have to see my friends.
Well, it all unravels rather nicely--the way most situations unfold. My friends, being the wonderful people they are, don't make me feel small and stupid. They vow to kick the "devil's" butt should he try and tell them anything about not running with their kids. Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned--especially if that a woman is a mother.
I vent to my friends and then calm down. I go back to demand my money refunded and to give the organizers a piece of my mind. A piece of my humiliated mind which is too emotional to really get the barbs in that I want.
The volunteer, who doesn't deserve a bawling out, gets one because she is the only one at the table. She tries to console me and apologizes. "I'm sure the racing official was stressed out."
Hey lady, I'm sure the guy is a lot of things, I can think of many right now, but there's no excuse for being rude to me.
The lady in charge comes back and apologizes--is it sincere? Who can tell. In these situations, apologizing is what you are supposed to do...and anything else to make a person feel better.
"Did you get a T-shirt?" she asks me.
"Let's get you a T-shirt."
Yeah, let's! That's just what I want. A visual reminder to be worn throughout the coming year that will forever remind me of this most humiliating experience. Yes, do give me a size medium.
My friend, who suggested the race, apologizs for the bad experience. I love her dearly for her optimism and tell her that this is an experience I won't soon forget.

I walk towards home. I suddenly understand the saying, "I'm so mad, I could spit nails." I'm mad. Mad at the racing official devil, but mad at myself. I had just quit my first race. My first race. My first chance to cross the finish line as 1756 will not happen. I let some "official's" comments stop me from finishing my first race.The realization of this was the almost as devastating as crying in front of my friends.
Oh well.

I'm sure I will race again...someday. For now, I've been there, done that and, unfortunately, got the T-shirt.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

The pressure to do an amazing first post is immense!

Hello friendly world!
I've promised for months that I was going to do a blog once I moved so that all my friends could read my random thoughts and stay in touch while having tea at their computer.

Here it is. (Insert crowd screaming here)

I must admit, the pressure is on to write something witty or deeply profound. First impressions count right?
But, wait, I'm writing to my friends...therefore a first impression has already occurred which means you are already aware of my idiosyncrasies and my rather bad habit of rambling on and on about a subject that has no real relevance or contains only partial importance to which you feel strangely drawn into listening yet quietly thinking, "What does this have to do with my life?"
But wait, now I feel I have to sensor myself. If I know that my friends are reading my actual thoughts, it brings up a new dilemma: What if Tammy discovers that I do have loads of time to write to her in Thailand but that I've just opted to be lazy in my correspondence because I...well, I don't really have an excuse.
And what if Hetsie learns that I'm not actually the fierce, intimidating leader I portray on a weekly basis in our financial class?

All valid questions.

But, then, I realize that you all know me for my authenticity and overtly honest manner. So, I conclude, that this is a "safe space" to be myself and comment on what is really going through my mind.

Let's all take a moment and be thankful that I've resolved to go ahead and blog. It make sense since, you know, I just worked for a few minutes to set one up!

OK moment over. Moving on.
Right now, the only thought I have is that I wish youtube carried more episodes of Corner Gas.

I know...deep, isn't it?

I'll keep you posted as to whether or not any deep, witty or spiritual thoughts should drop into my mind.

For the King,